Children set to munch their way into the record books in NSW for The Big Veggie Crunch
New South Wales are seeking to combat the low numbers of children in the state consuming vegetables, naming the first week of April as Vegetable Week. The Vegetable Week initiative forms part of a strategy designed to improve statistics showing that 95 per cent of young children are not consuming the recommended daily amount of vegetables.
NSW primary schools, in an initiative which could be easily replicated in early childhood education and care (ECEC) sites, will be coming together to encourage children and families to eat more vegetables by participating in Vegetable Week activities, and The BIg Veggie Crunch.
The week-long event provides free resources to primary schools that promote vegetables to students, and culminates in The Big Veggie Crunch, a record-breaking attempt for simultaneous vegetable eating.
Similar resources to support promotion of increased vegetable consumption in ECEC are available, such as Munch and Move, Get up and Grow, Feed Australia, and the Healthy Eating Advisory Service, linking in with the National Quality Standard Quality Area 2, Element 2.1.3 – Healthy eating and physical activity are promoted and appropriate for each child.
Vegetable Week runs from 1 April – 5 April 2019, with The Big Veggie Crunch to be held at 10am on Thursday 4 April. Since the first event in 2016, participation numbers in the record breaking attempt have been growing, with 50,260 students participating in 2018.
This year, around 100,000 students from 532 primary schools across the state are expected to crunch on veggies at the same time, aiming to break the 2018 record.
Project manager of Vegetable Week and The Big Veggie Crunch, Ms Katie Booth, of Healthy Kids Association, said that interactive and fun events, such as The Big Veggie Crunch, can influence the amount and variety of vegetables children choose to eat.
“It is recommended that children between the ages of four and 12 (such as those attending ECEC services through long day care, kindergarten, outside school hours care, occasional care and family day care) eat around five serves of veggies each day. There are a lot of reasons why so many kids are not eating enough – perhaps they don’t have access, they don’t like the taste, they get bored with the lack of variety, or they simply lack the knowledge to make good choices about food,” says Ms. Booth.
“However, events like this in the school setting, combined with positive peer influence and education around food, can improve awareness and help children to try different types of veggies. At Healthy Kids, we like to encourage children to ‘Eat The Rainbow’ which is one of the best ways to ensure kids are getting the different vitamins and minerals which are packed into vegetables of different colours. The aim of this event is not only to get kids excited about breaking a record, but to encourage them to try different veggies every day, ” she said.
More information about Vegetable Week and The Big Veggie Crunch is available here